The Christina Eilman lawsuit comes to an end.
I first wrote about this case back in January of 2010. The story initially generated quite a bit of buzz, but then it dropped off the radar. In 2006 Christina Eilman was a twenty one year old, mentally-ill, white woman from California. She flew to Illinois and was arrested for creating a disturbance at Midway Airport. She was held overnite at a South Side Police Station, then released into a high crime area, where she was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and then likely thrown or pushed from the seventh floor of a Chicago Housing Authority[CHA] building. Eilman suffered devastating brain injuries as a result her fall and now requires around the clock care. The picture above shows her shortly after the incident. Her parents sued the City of Chicago claiming that the Police Department should never have released Eilman into a high crime area.
The facts revealed pretty clearly that the Chicago Police Department simply screwed up. Eilman’s parents, frantically trying to manage the situation from California, called the station where Christina was being held 9 separate times, trying to warn the police that Christina was bipolar and likely in midst of an episode. A number of officers indicated they were aware that Eilman was mentally ill. Despite that knowledge, Eilman was ultimately escorted to the back door of the station and then allowed to simply walk off into a very dangerous neighborhood. Eilman continued to act erratically as she walked through the neighborhood and eventually was seen entering the CHA building. She was then seen entering a deserted unit on the 7th floor with a group of people. At least one bystander tried to persuade her to leave but she refused. Not long thereafter, Marvin Powell, a convicted felon and reputed gang member, arrived and ordered eveyone to leave. Eilman attempted to leave but Powell refused to allow her to do so. A short time later Eilman was heard screaming. She then plunged to the ground. Powell was arrested and charged with sexual assault and kidnapping.
On Tuesday the City of Chicago agreed to pay $22.5 million to Ms. Eilman. The article I read didn’t mention who Eilman’s lawyers were, but they should be commended.